Rita Hayworth: Gilda (1946)
Rita Hayworth: Gilda (1946)
Rita Hayworth is the utimate femme fatale in the classic film noir Gilda (1946) by Charles Vidor. Gilda was praised for its impressive cinematography and the mixture of genres. Today, it remains a classic. Rita Hayworth is Gilda, the wife of a casino owner in Buenos Aires and past lover of gambler Johnny (Glen Ford). Gilda repeatedly denies to her husband that she knows Johnny, as their love-hate relationship becomes clear. She continues to cavort and tease the men around her, until the past becomes clear and the plot unfolds.
When we remember the beautiful Rita, we immediately think of her in this film, strutting around singing ‘Put The Blame On Mame’ (above). The black dress she wears in this film (above), has become so iconic and has helped create the image of the femme fatale in cinema. Her wardrobe in the film reportedly cost an absolute bomb, but it was completely worth it for how incredible she looks in every scene. It is evident from the amount of costume changes and attention to detail that Gilda was a large-budget production. There is so much emphasis on what she wears and this is an integral part of her character. She is meant to be outrageously glamorous as its part of her appeal, with her jewellery, satin gowns and large dressing room. Women want to be her and men want to be with her, she is the central character of the film. Each outfit was designed by French costume designer Jean Louis, who worked for Columbia pictures. The black dress (above) was named one of ten most fashionable moments in film by The Independent. She is so stylish, and so seductive. Too seductive for the 40’s. In fact, Gilda really pushed the boundaries in terms of what was allowed, and confirmed Rita Hayworth as the sex-symbol of that era.
In Gilda, Its all about the eveningwear. This is my favorite outfit of the entire film because of knotted skirt and exotic print. Baring her middreff in the 40’s? A tad scandalous for viewers at that time but nonetheless, she looks stunning. The print is almost Moroccan or Grecian, with her skirt sitting on her hips accentuating her tiny waist. This outfit is so unlike any of the other gowns that she wears and is a real statement piece.
One of the most famous character entrances in cinema is Rita’s hair flick in this film (below). People still go crazy for Rita’s hair, trying to recreate that signature Hollywood curl. In Gilda, her hair bounces and bobs around her shoulders with every move she makes. It’s hard to take your eyes of her. Every time I watch Gilda I think ‘Why doesn’t my hair look like this and how so I make it do so?’ Apparently, Rita used to wash her hair and then wrap it up in oil for ten minutes or so, then rinse again. This was her ‘secret’ to great hair with bounce and shine.
There is no reason why we cannot re-create this infamous femme fatale style. This Hollywood style could be a dramatic, sultry, evening look for big occasion. Below are some of my favorite evening gowns and beauty products to create the Gilda look!